Jan 062012
 

So you’re thinking about bringing home a new pet hamster. Congratulations! Hamsters make great pets. They are absolutely the cutest and cuddliest little animals around. They are clean, they like to play and run, and they have very short tales, so you won’t mistake them for a rat or mouse.

For adults, they are an easy to care for and inexpensive pet to have around. For children, being a hamster owner can be a great learning experience. (Just don’t forget that an adult is ultimately responsible.)
Hamster

 

Below are the most important things you should know to be sure you’re going to be a great hamster owner.

Know a Few Hamster Facts

You need to know there is more than one type of hamster. There are Syrians, which are the most common, and dwarves. There are different kinds of Syrians such as Teddy Bears and Goldens. For dwarves, there are Roborovskis and Russians. Read Types of Hamsters for more information. You’ll want to pick a type of hamster that most appeals to you.

Another key fact that people don’t think about is that hamsters are nocturnal. That is, they like to play in the evening and will sometimes run in their cages in the middle of the night. If the new hamster owner is a light sleeper, this could be a problem. Some light sleepers get around this issue by moving the hamster to a different location when they go to bed. But it’s certainly something to think about.

Finally, the typical hamster lifespan is about 2 to 3 years. That means that eventually the hamster is going to pass away. Whoever owns the hamster needs to know this so they can be prepared to deal with their hamster dying.

Know About Creating a Great Hamster Habitat

Can you make your hammy happy? To do that, you’ll have to know about the environment in which it’s going to live.

Cage Types: As there are different types of hamsters, there are also different types of hamster cages. There are wire cages, plastic cages, and combination wire and plastic cages. You can even use an aquarium as a hamster cage. To choose a hamster cage, you need to consider the pluses and minuses of the different types of cages before you even buy your hamster. For more information about choosing hamster cages read Consider These When Buying Hamster Cages: Size, Security, Sanitation. hamster cage

Cage Sizes: Your Syrian or pair of dwarf hamsters need room to exercise and play. Hamster cages come in different sizes from small to large. Know the different sizes so you can plan on a cage that’s going to be large enough for your hamster and everything you’re going to put in the cage.

Hamster bedding, food, and water: All hamster cages will require bedding, food, and water. It’s best to learn about the different types of bedding available because choosing the wrong type can harm your hamster. For example, pine or cedar wood shavings are not recommended, but Aspen wood shavings are OK. hamster bedding

You also need to look into the makeup of the different types of hamster food. Feeding your hamster treats all the time can make them ill. Hamster food will also include fresh vegetables to keep your hamster healthy.

And you’ve always got to provide your hamster with water which means you’ll have to be sure a water bottle is always within reach of your hamster.

Hamster exercise: Hamsters need to run and be active. An exercise wheel is a necessity in any hamster cage. Buy the type that’s large enough for your hamster and won’t hurt his or her feet. Hamster tubes also let hamsters get exercise. Think about where you can place these colorful plastic tubes – either inside the cage or create a maze outside the cage. hamster tubes

Cleaning: The most important thing you have to know about the hamster habitat is that you’re going to have to clean it, probably weekly. This is an important job because a dirty cage can give your hamster different infections. So keeping a clean hamster cage is a big responsibility that any hamster owner must sign up for.

Know About Hamster Health Issues

One part of keeping your hamster healthy is watching out for illness. Hamsters can be prone to different types of infections. The most common is wet tail, but they can also get respiratory or skin infections. You should know a little about each of these so that you know what signs to look for to know if your hamster is getting sick.

Another part of having a healthy hamster is playing with it. Although your hamster will be a little frightened when you first bring him or her home, you can learn to tame your hamster so that it enjoys playing in your hands as well as with exercise balls. But taming your hamster may take time, so you must learn patience to be a good hamster owner.

Key Questions

Bringing home a hamster means you are making a commitment to care of your pet. You want to learn as much as possible before hand so that you can be prepared to be a good pet owner. In return your hamster will give you hours of fun and put a lot of smiles on your face.

Here is a summary of the key question you should ask to be sure you’re going to be a responsible hamster owner.

  • What type of hamster is right for me?
  • What type of cage is right for my hamster?
  • Is the cage large enough for my hamster?
  • Have I gotten bedding, food, and water for my hamster?
  • Have I gotten exercise wheels, tubes, or toys to keep my hamster active?
  • Am I prepared to keep my hamster’s cage clean?
  • Am I familiar with hamster health issues?
  • Am I prepared to check on my hamster’s health?
  • Will I put time aside to play with my hamster?

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Nov 182011
 

If you have a healthy hamster, he or she will be with you for around 2 to 3 years. So when naming your hammy, you want a name that you’ll enjoy saying for all that time.

Hamster Naming Tips

  • Hamsters don’t usually respond to their names like cats and dogs, so the name should be one you like to say or has special meaning for you.
  • Hamster names should be short, usually one or two syllables. Of course, if you like saying “Mr. Bojangle Diggerbottom,” go for it!
  • You can use a cute name or a simple name, but try to give a male hamster a “boy” name and a female hamster a “girl” name. Unless you want to explain why you did it every time someone meets your hamster.
  • Give your hamster a name as soon as you get him or her. You don’t want someone else to call your hamster something like “Blob,” and having it stick. (Unless you like Blob!)
  • Once you give your hamster a name, stick with it. It’s hard enough to get a hamster to respond to a name. If you start changing the name, your hammy will just get confused.
  • Be creative! It’ll be fun for you and your friends will have a good time trying to guess how you came up with the name.

Picking a Hamster Name

What name should I have?

Here are some ways you can decide on your hamster’s name.
Click on each method to get some sample names.

The color of your hamster
What your hamster looks like
How your hamster behaves
Your hamster’s personality
Foods
Flowers
Gems
TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Boys)
TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Girls)
Variations on “hamster”
Combination hamster names (For people who have 2 dwarf hamsters)

If none of these ideas work for you, you can try:

  • Baby naming books
  • Sports stars
  • Words associated with an activity or hobby you like
  • Making up a wild and crazy name

Colors

  • Brownie
  • Cappuccino
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut
  • Copper
  • Ebony
  • Ginger
  • Goldie
  • Hershey
  • Honey
  • Marble
  • Mocha
  • Nutmeg
  • Oreo
  • Rusty
  • Silver
  • Slate
  • Smokey

What your Hamster Looks Like

  • Boots
  • Bright Eyes
  • Butterball
  • Cheeky
  • Chubby
  • Cuddles
  • Dust bunny
  • Fluffball
  • Fluffy
  • Furball
  • Fuzzy
  • Grizzly
  • Munchkin
  • Patches
  • Peewee
  • Pinkie
  • Pudge
  • Scruffy
  • Shaggy
  • Snowball
  • Spotty

How Your Hamster Behaves

  • Chewie
  • Chips
  • Chomper
  • Cuddles
  • Frisky
  • Kissy
  • Nibbler/Nibbles
  • Nipper
  • Peppy
  • Sassy
  • Scooter
  • Squeaker
  • Squeezy
  • Squiggly
  • Squirmy
  • Twister
  • Wiggler
  • Ziggy
  • Zippy

Your Hamster’s Personality

  • Dazzle
  • Devil
  • Flash
  • Happy
  • Houdini (if he’s always trying to escape)
  • Peppy
  • Precious
  • Sparkle
  • Sweetie
  • Twinkle

Foods

  • Berry
  • Biscuit
  • Blueberry
  • Caramel
  • Cheerio
  • Cookie
  • Cupcake
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow
  • Pancake
  • Peachy
  • Peanut
  • Pickle
  • Pumpkin
  • Shortcake
  • Sprite
  • Strawberry
  • Sugar
  • Twinkie

Flowers

  • Dandelion
  • Iris
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lily
  • Magnolia
  • Rose
  • Sunflower
  • Violet

Gems

  • Amber
  • Diamond
  • Emerald
  • Jade
  • Opal
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz

TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Boys)

  • Bert
  • Caspian
  • Charlie
  • Chester
  • Edmund
  • Elmo
  • Ernie
  • Frodo
  • Garfield
  • Harry
  • James
  • Julian
  • Nate
  • Neo
  • Pete
  • Pooh Bear
  • Ralph
  • Stuart
  • Ulysses

TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Girls)

  • Charlotte
  • Coraline
  • Dora
  • Eloise
  • Harriet
  • Hermione
  • Julie/Juliet
  • Lucy
  • Madeline
  • Miss Piggy
  • Pippi
  • Sheila

Variations on “Hamster”

  • Ham Ham
  • Hambone
  • Hamish
  • Hamlet
  • Hammie
  • Hammy
  • Hampa
  • Hampstaa
  • Hampton
  • Hampy

Combination Hamster Names

Based on Food

  • Bubble & Squeak (for you Brits in the audience)
  • Kit & Kat
  • Mac & Cheese
  • PB & J
  • Peanut & Butter
  • Pepper & Chili
  • Sugar & Spice
  • Veg & Mite (for you Aussies in the audience)

Couples/Characters from TV/Books/Movies

  • Barbie & Ken
  • Bart & Lisa
  • Batman & Robin
  • Beauty & Beast
  • Bert & Ernie
  • Hansel & Gretal
  • Harry & Sally
  • Lady & Tramp
  • Pinky & The Brain
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • Tarzan & Jane
  • Tigger & Piglet
  • Tweedledee & Tweedledum
  • Yogi & Booboo

Popular Couples

  • Brad & Angie
  • Pricilla & Elvis

Popular Expressions

  • Devil & Angel
  • Hugs & Kisses
  • Ruff & Reddy
  • Thunder & Lightening
  • Yin & Yang
  • Zig & Zag

For information about picking the right hamster read Tips for Choosing a Healthy Hamster.


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Feb 252011
 

You can add this wire tank topper to the top of a 10 gallon aquarium to add space to your hamster’s home. Here are the pluses and minuses.

aquarium tank topper

Pluses

  • The topper includes a wire cage top, food dish, water bottle, a hideout house, shelves and ramps.
  • It comes with two clips to attach the wire top to your fish tank.
  • Easy to assemble as it fits right on top of the aquarium.
  • It gives your hamster about double the space to move around in and explore. Instead of just running around on the floor of the fish tank, your hammy can run up and down the ramps and on the shelves.
  • Easy to clean. Just take the clips off to remove the top for cleaning. (You still have to clean out the glass cage itself.) Reassembly is also easy. This saves you a lot of time.
  • Good size for one Syrian hamster.
  • Good value. If you use this topper and a fish tank you get a complete hamster cage at a good price.

Minuses

  • Fits some aquariums better than others. There can be small differences in the dimensions of fish tanks, even if its size is 10 gallons. If your topper doesn’t fit smoothly on your tank, don’t fight it – just take it back.
  • Because of the spacing between the wire bars, small dwarf hamsters may be able to squeeze through. Use toppers only if you have large dwarfs or a Syrian hamster.
  • Ramps are steep, especially for smaller or dwarf hamsters. Check to see if your hamster is able to climb the ramps easily. You don’t want your hamster falling from the top ramp to the bottom of the aquarium.
  • The food bowl is supposed to go on the top shelf. Because it can be light when empty, your hamster can easily throw it to the bottom.
  • The water bottle is part of the little house that goes on the bottom of the tank. It’s a small water bottle that’s too close to the ground. Use a regular water bottle instead.
  • The only way to get at your hamster is from above (unless you take the top off). So you have to bend over or have long arms to reach your hamster if he or she is on the bottom of the tank.

Summary

The Good

☺☺☺

Easy to assemble
Easy to clean
Good value

The Bad

☹☹☹

Steep ramps
Wire bar spacing too wide for dwarf hamsters
Parts are light and small

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Feb 192011
 

I’ve looked through YouTube and picked out some of the best hamster videos that show off how people use their hamster tubes. None of these are the simple kind that fit inside a hamster cage. These are the tube set ups that GO CRAZY!

Just remember, if you want to go this route you better have plenty of time to put the tubes together and even more time to take them apart and clean them.

5 CRAzIeST Hamster Cages on YouTube! Tube Overload!

Five different ways to connect tubes to cages. The last one is a collection of still picture showing how the tubes were put together. The person who shot this video also gives you a little description of how it was done with lnks to a basic cage and the tubes. You can see the same cages and tubes on the hamster cages and accessories page.

Time: 1:49

The following are three videos all by the same person: Part 1, 2, and 3.

They are all slide shows showing still pictures of different hamster cages with tubes. FUN MUSIC plays in the background!

Crazy Hamster Cages, Part 1!

Time: 1:16

Crazy Hamster Cages, Part 2!

Also features cats closely observing the cages. Poor frightened roborovski!

Time: about 3 minutes

Crazy Hamster Cages, Part 3!

More music and photos.

Time: 2:18

Tube overload!

A quickie video. Shows the set up for two dwarf hamsters. The tubes go up down and around for one cage.

Time: 41 seconds

Hamster City Part 1

A short video showing lots of tubes that go straight up in the air. Some tough climbing, especially for dwarf hamsters.

Time: 51 seconds

The Evolution of Ham-Tropolis

Still pictures showing how one cage with tubes started and then just grew and grew!

Music used is the Hamster Dance song.

I think taking apart, cleaning, and putting back together this set up would take about a day.

Time: 1:18


Now go make your own hamster tube set up! hamster tubes

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Feb 182011
 

There are some steps you should take when you want to let your hamster loose to play inside hamster tubes.

Plan

Plan the layout of your tubes before you start to build them. If you build first, you may find you don’t have enough space for the tubes. The tube layout will depend on how you’re going to use your tubes.

One option is to have a large hamster cage and keep all the tube pieces inside. You can have small pieces that go horizontally across the cage. Or others that twist and turn in a circle inside the cage. Or make a design that lets your hamster climb from the bottom to the top level of the cage. hamster cage

Another way to go is to start with a hamster cage that has some tubes as part of its design. They usually go outside the cage. You can then plan on adding on more tubes to the ones outside the cage. In this way you can keep building until you have a large maze of tubes that are outside the cage.

Some people use two cages and use the tubes to connect the cages and let their hamster run between the cages.

Another simple option is to put together some tubes that the hamster uses just for exercise, like a hamster exercise ball. You put the hamster in the tube maze you’ve built when you know you’ll be there to watch him play.

When planning your layout, do leave some space in the cage for the hamster to rest. Inside the hamster cage you should still have bedding in an area where your hammy can get some rest and sleep, a bathroom area, a water bottle, running wheel, and of course, a food dish.

Build

Attach all the tube pieces carefully according to your plan. Read the instructions and work slowly. Some tube pieces are harder to get together than others and you don’t want to break any pieces. Be especially careful if you are attaching tubes to a cage opening. You don’t want to leave space that your hamster can escape through.

Getting your hamster to use the tube

Syrians and Teddy Bear hamsters usually take to climbing through the tubes pretty easily. But dwarf hamsters may take some coaxing.

Don’t go crazy when you first set up the tubes. Try a few at a time. Give your hamster some time to sniff around the new tubes. Your hamster may be used to burrowing, but plastic tubes are probably a new experience for him. One trick is to put some treats inside the tubes. Your hamster will then climb inside the tube to get the treat. Do this a few times until your hamster gets used to the tubes.

Expandhamster tubes

Once you see your hamster easily moving around the few tubes, you can start adding some interesting twists and turns.

Make a circle around the cage, make a maze, or go from one level to another. Add a lookout. Make sure your put the tubes where you can see them so you can enjoy watching your hammy run through them. If you are running tubes horizontally on the floor, leave some space for people to walk around them. You don’t want anyone stepping on the tubes and breaking them!

Also consider these hamster tube tips.


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